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[TR] Yosylum - Da Kapitan - Seeing Dog on the Salathe 6/26/2011


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Trip: Yosylum - Da Kapitan - Seeing Dog on the Salathe


Date: 6/26/2011


Trip Report:

summer 2011 set in quick - family out the door for the olde dominion - lightening trip to index for a weekend w/ rock ninja powderhund - some puttering about beacon and the like, then it was school put to bed for the vernal vacation, ten tons of shit in the car including enough toxins to kill a bull blue whale, and then over the bridge to big ben's house for the rendezvous, packing the ford full of shining war gear


our secret weapon for the 2 week trip - ben's ma becky - our base camp scrounger - a sharp nose she has for wait lists and spare firewood, salads and free ice - and holy shit, does she like to drive! best yosylum trip for me ever thataways as i drove a total of 3 hrs the whole round trip :) had to settle for sucking snus the whole way instead of a christian smoke, but lip cancer is the small price to pay, no?


binge and purge on the plunge south - endless dylan albums - naps - game of thrones - plans w/n plans - we washed up at hardin flats in the nether hours - shoulda gone strait into camp 4 to settle into line in the darkness but figured a few hrs nap and showing up at 6 would be good enough - not hardly :)


pissed to have no place in the inn in the end and fucking scads of buses and touron bullshit all about, every road clogged and clusterfucked, ben and i resolved to get the hell off the valley floor lickety-split - we found fixed ropes already up to heart ledges, and figured we'd skip the freeblast and just begin up the salathe the next day - we cragged on sacher crack to get a Taste for Wide in anticipation of the days coming, then retired to hardin flats again and packed up amidst the clouds of 'skitters


our Murderer's Row - thanks to timetravelingsteve-o for the lender of the Fucking Giant - ben was hot for anythign like a wide lead, so i was happily settling for doing the shit more straitforwardely aided :)


up in the darkness on the sabbath day, we commuted on again, munching bacon - hoofed our single bag n' miscellaneous shite up in a single brutal hike, and i started up the rope, haul-rope in tow, while ben went back w/ our poles and to fetch a few odds n' ends


the look down from the 2nd rope - mostly intact :)


phat ledge just below heart - an easy jug but a hateful haul


we arrived at upper heart ledge early enough in the afternoon, but the sun was blazing and so we settled in for a bit for shade and shooting the shit, eating some lunch and taking in the big, big bitch looming above us


my first soiree this side of the wall - overawed like a damned goggle-eyed snapping turtle, i oggled the scenes of legend - the heart - the shield - el cap spire - yadda yadda fuckign yadda :)


the heat beat, ben set off - p12 was puzzling at first, lunching on the ledge, but he sorted it out well enough, earning along the way the nickname i've kept since: "false start ben" - holy jeebus, my boy will get the rope up there, but it's fits n' starts, 2 step up, 1 step back kinda progress - gives you something to do other than suck down smoke at the belays i reckon :)


quick clean and haul, and we were up on lung ledge, our first night on the wall - the salathe, like the nose, is partly so badass for the # of excellent ledges n' stances along the route, such that no portaledge is necessary - if you're like the colorado badass that blew through us on day 3, you also don't need a shirt, 2nd rope, more than a couple cams, or more than 12 hours of free time in yer schedule :rawk:


ben doing what he does best - playing w/ poo - goddamn he put me to shame in the shit count, ending our wall solidly in the lead, 5 to 1 i recall :)


day 2 we were troublingly slow - hauling up the 4th class pitch was aggravating - here ben heads down to help my haul up - gotta build your here in an awkward spot along a ramp - odd that the hallowed first ones didn't just keep wandering on up, but i've learned to Trust the Founders :)


the children's moon


the hollow flake has the horror reputation of course, but ben handled it well i though, only once he committed to swinging into it - sucks for the belayer though, since you can't see the action around the corner - wouldn't be surprised at all if we choose the retard way to belay and haul


ben up on hollow flake ledge


the good life :)


hollow flake ledge gets a tepid rep on the topo, but we found it switched on and smashing, very comfy, well stocked w/ water - but holy shit, the 5.7 chimney above, for which placing no pro at all is recommended, looms large above it :)


by the time ben had overcome The Fear and got up the chimney, it was obvious we werent' going to make it to el cap spire w/o doing a bunch of night climbing, so eventually we settle don leaving some water and our bed things on the hollow flake ledge, hauling the rest up the pitch, then fixing the pitch above that so we could get an early start on the ear on day 3


great place to sleep, hollow ledge - not much legroom for 2, but boulders pinch you in so you can strip off the harness and snooze to visions of great dancing titties :rawk:


i'd done the last lead above the chimney day 2, and i got the first of day 3 too, taking us up just under the ear - before i arrived the salathe-in-a-day crew blew through, w/ a bit of bad news - the last forecast we'd seen had gone south, w/ rain forecast taht night, though it was supposed to get better the next day they said - we figured we had bivy bags and fortitude, and there was no sense bailing on a rumor of weather, so soldiered on ahead


ben setting off on the ear pitch, far more eager to grapple w/ it than i was!


and grapple w/ it mightily he did, working like a spider to render it safe - i had time to look down and savor the view - the nose at the base - the fixed ropes - the big EC!


eventually big B emerged on the far side of the ear


the bizness complete, the pig was sent into space


i got the next pitch, an aid-wonder - a full meal deal yosemite long pitch of continuous phat-crack - looking back at the belay


crack starts large and awkward, eventually goes thin - it's the first steep one, and just goes and goes, ending up just a bit below the alcove and el cap spire


w/ the weather clearly turning, lightening clear to the west, we contemplated if there might be better shelter down in the alcove, but crazy winds blowing back behidn the wall made me question the wisdom of it, so up we went to Take the Thing By the Balls - ben gets the wide stuff!


once on the top of the legendary spire, we decided to ignore the looming nightmare comign upon us, and use the dying light to fix as much of the next pitch as possible


the flickers of fire in the darkness and the waxing weather-signs made me feel all antsy in me pantsy


sadly, the last part of the tale goes rather unrecorded - by 10 the visiblity was being swallowed in wisps of cloud roaring up the face - we buckled down for a storm, snug in our bivy sacks - we hoped it would be what we'd experienced before - a quick burst of violence, then clearing and good times


instead, at 1 a.m. we woke to a lashing that went undiminished for the next 12 hrs - the pillar top became a strange sea - the pounding of the rain confusing - were we actually in a waterfall? sure felt like it! suffocating in the bag, i'd open a port to gasp a few breathes, only for the ocean to pour through


i drifted through the night, alternately delighted and terrified - dark visions - reality of wakefulness scarcely distinguishable from the hyperworld of dreams - by 4, the storm unbroken, i noticed my bivy sack was becoming badly defeated - no leaks really, just moisture crossing hte membrane and collecting on the sleeping bag


good time to admit to stupidity - mountaineer dipshit that i am, i was rocking the down sleeping bag, as was ben - years of toting that thign around through foul weather had never gotten me screwed, but it was time for that to change - by murky sunrise, w/ shrieking wind and zero-viz, the bag had become a full on freezing sponge - my hands puckered like after hours spent in the pool - holy jeebus, is this thing goign to fucking end or what? :)


a lot of laying aroudn in misery ensued, occasional moments of clearing almost instantly fading back away amid renewed sky-violence - discovered my smokes were soaked and dead - my shoes and kneepads in the hydro-sack overcome and sponged as well - what to do? if it keeps up like this for days, how would we NOT die? :) ben broke out his phone, just to see if he could summon The Man, even if he wanted to, and discovered that critical bit of gear was a failure too - wow, so this is really happening, ha! but doesn't it still beat being at work? :P


with nothign to do but endure, ben tried to begin a rather religious argument - no atheists in a foxhole, i delayed the topic for drier days :)


of course all storms must end - when ours had, every pitch above us was a roaring cascade - even if we were dry and in good order, we'd need a day at least to let the waterfalls slacken - that wasn't hardly the case for us though - we had to bail, but goddamn we were a long way up in the sky! and worse still, we'd fixed the half pitch above us last night, now a vertical river - ben snaked back up it, and we had to leave a .75 to lower him back off so we could begin the Great Chicken-Out :)


ended up not being as bad as we'd feared - my thoughts of mortality had grown grim indeed the past few hours - the sun occasionally broke out, and parts of us dried - we grew encouraged - that broke a bit though when we got a rope stuck above the hollow flake ledge, despite a conscious attempt to prevent just that - fixed soon enough, now all was left to reverse the hollow flake - luckily that turned out not too hard, though i found myself at the end of the pendulum having to jug on a rope that had long since lost its kern, leaving only the dozen strands of the core - more difficult was reversing the haulbag :)


but then, soon enough, as evening drew near, it was clear and holding, and we were safe at the top of the fixed lines - we were down on the ground shortly after dark, only mildy annoyed our ride was nowhere to be found, and we with no way to contact her, nor ability to sleep in sodden gear at the base - we were almost resolved to build a bonfire and endure once again, when someone stopped by the road and let us use their phone


the next day was drying out and swaggering about, feeling the Great Glow - 24 hrs later we were heroes again, and set on avenging ourselves on the Poontangerine Pimp!


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Wow, awesome TR as always Ivan. BTW, fella in the valley told me that the nickname Ben and his brother have in Yosemite is "the Enduro Brothers" for getting on the Shield and refusing to quit till they topped out...LOL.


But I suppose that Beckey is the secret weapon. I got to meet her couple years back and hung out in the meadow when my knee was all stitched up and trying to recover from an earlier hiking accident, and she was one of the most pleasant folks and 100% positive cheerleaders I've ever met. An awesome and kind hearted sweetheart to hang with. She was doing the perfect bacon that trip as well. Woot!


Congrats on surviving that:-)

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wow! kewl report, pix and vids! thanx for sharing.

the drive must have been the crux; even though i've never climbed above 5.8, i would gladly have faced the perils of el cap rather than subject myself to even 5 minutes of bob dylan's caterwauling! :)

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I was one of the guys over to your right on the Muir. The storm that night was incredible. Fortunately we had a Fish ledge with his whup-ass rainfly and managed to stay mostly dry. The thunder and lightning was awe inspiring. The wind whipped us around in the ledge like we were nothing. We spent 18 hours in the ledge without venturing out.


When the storm finally broke we wandered out and saw what must have been you guys trying to get to the fixed ropes. It was getting late and it looked like you guys were having trouble.


I'm glad you made it down. We stuck it out and topped out on the 4th of July....




At least it wasn't freezing.....


Edited by stillcrankin
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I was one of the guys over to your right on the Muir. The storm that night was incredible. Fortunately we had a Fish ledge with his whup-ass rainfly and managed to stay mostly dry. The thunder and lightning was awe inspiring. The wind whipped us around in the ledge like we were nothing. We spent 18 hours in the ledge without venturing out.


When the storm finally broke we wandered out and saw what must have been you guys trying to get to the fixed ropes. It was getting late and it looked like you guys were having trouble.


I'm glad you made it down. We stuck it out and topped out on the 4th of July....



nice - small world! yeah, we were damn envious of ya'lls setup when the clouds cleared enough to see you - we had problems on the bailure when the rope got stuck above the hollow flake ledge and we had to dig into the bag to get gear to aid back up to it, then ben spent a good long while figuring out how to get him and the bag back to me after i reversed the hollow flake - ben thought maybe we could rap strait down, tyler, but we didn't know for sure and those fixed lines from heart back to ground were a big old piece of sanity to us, so i at least was determined to get back to that known bit of good instead of launching on 11 pitches worth of unknown raps :)


hmm...shit...guess it's time to start working on the tangerine trip bit, which had a much happier ending...


but bits i left out?


swallows! holy fuck they were cool on this wall - one day we saw hordes of them fornicating - they'd end up in balls of 3-4, all linked together, heading ballistically down the wall in tight rotating gyres, w/ many more darting in and out to beat at the pack


knew we were fucked in that storm when the birds and bats shut up - the rest of the time they were as part of the landscape as the roar of the merced - by storms ends, it appeared half of el cap meadow had succumbed to swamp!


dark omen - a dead swallow in a crack on first jug


look forward to finishing the damn thign someday - the salathe headwall looked fucking mindbendingly cool up there :)

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...i was rocking the down sleeping bag, as was ben...

Missed this one first time through (yes, it was that entertaining). Dudes! One word: Walmart - $28 - Micro Tek Ultra-Compact Mummy 30-Degree Sleeping Bag


Werner says they are a stickler on this one if they have to come after you...

as it turned out i had a cheap-o synthetic bag as my camping bag in the car, so, lesson learned, it went on tangerine trip - amusingly, i learned its value when wet the very night we bailed, as that bag had been in the soft bag on top of the car and gotten soaked, yet still i slept like a child in it back in the pines :)

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